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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vices, indulgences, these are the things which never change but which disguise themselves in a thousand forms beneath the mask of prevailing morals: to lift off this mask and expose them, this is the noble task of the person who devotes himself to the theatre.
-Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de
Masks: the hiding & revealing of personalities to create a *false face*. They so fascinate the human soul they have been around since Stone age times & have been made from every conceivable material for every conceivable purpose: spiritual, theatrical, erotic, party extravaganza, simple deceit.

Ditz became enamoured after I introduced her to Amadeus. Gorgeous masks. We did masks for Art ~ several times. It only slowly dawned on Ditz that masks served a purpose other than purely decorative as a theatre prop. I admit it. I happily escorted Ditz to piano lessons & art classes. When she begged for a violin we went out & bought a violin. When she did band we forked out for a flute for the girl. Then it was singing in choir & now the whole AVAE experience which looks set to age me before my time. What I very consciously did not do was drama. I always, always, avoided it, even when it was set as part of our school work I never did it, not because I have an aversion to drama but simply because I own Ditz. Ditz does not need any encouragement along these lines. Drama comes naturally to her.

Besides I did drama. All those stories about theatre people... they're true ~ but it was inevitable. Sooner or later something theatrical was going to come Ditz's way & once bitten I knew she'd have the theatre bug~ & so it did, & so she does. For a while the drama class on the island, the only way I would even consider Ditz being involved in something else! was so amateurish even Ditz didn't have blinders on & so it didn't have a very high priority in her life.

Things have changed. The drama class is still an amateur thing but it makes it a very social event for Ditz & it is her top priority so she was delighted when the drama teacher took the class off island to do their street theatre on the Mainland. Everyone turned up. Everyone had a go. Were they any good? Probably not. I wasn't there so I am in no position to evaluate it all but I do know the kids & their abilities; one reason I wasn't there.

I know when I was at school drama was one of those classes for losers or most definitely extra~curricular along with music, sport & art. None of the Arts got a very high priority because, after all, what are the arts good for? You can't make a living from this stuff unless you are very, very good at it. Most of us aren't very good, barely mediocre, often just plain bad but I hardly think that is the point.

Firstly drama & music teach survival skills. Oh, yes they do! Do you know one of the first things you learn in a drama class ~ to own your space! This means you stand tall & move confidently ~ a huge detraction to bullying. Most instruments insist you stand with proper posture just to play the thing. We had so many education majors do drama just because it taught things like moving confidently, projecting the voice, making things more interesting with a touch of the theatrics. Ever done some theatre or played in a band? Yep. It's a major team sport. Co~operation is the name of the game. Even if you have *stars*, even if you have soloists, even if some are noticeably better than others, the one cannot shine without the others support. In my mind these things alone mean the arts should have a much higher priority in our society.

Then there are the aesthetics. Beauty feeds the soul & is as necessary to life as air. Without it something within us withers & dies.

And if you are the practical sort then quite simply put music teaches discipline & that pervades other areas of one's life. Even without that, studies show that children who play an instrument do better academically. There is something wrong when it takes 4 years or more to teach our children the basics of mathematics but we ignore skills that will enhance their quality of life, giving it that extra dimension that lights the spark of the divine within each & every person, who is, after all, made in the image of God.


Persuaded said...

I know I have been so lacking in my teaching of the arts to my kids... it has just not been our thing. But Millen is so profoundly into anything musical or dance it has been impossible to not have it become a big part of her life. and it has been so enriching to her... makes me wish I could go back and "do over" the other kids' early childhood;)

Mrs. C said...

Oh, but Ditz has such direction... it's just in art. You could incorporate all kinds of study like English or social studies into the study of plays. :]

Mrs. Darling said...

I too am lax in teaching the arts when it comes to actual artists and theater. Tink hates it so I assume Peter does. I need to always bear in mind that Peter is a different kid and may benefit from teaching this stuff. Oh boy, so much to think about. Way to go Ditz. I love plays and stuff. Wish I had a kid that did!

Ganeida said...

Diane: I had one madly into science & I struggled with that. God in his mercy never gave me a mathamatician because it would never have happened for them. I totally missed the math gene. Nor do I think every child needs to be full on into the arts, just like not every child needs more than the basics in math & science but there are certain skills these things impart besides the obvious ~ especially now when *deportment* classes are so out of vogue. Seriously, I don't have Ditz's panache but doing drama gave me confidence & allowed me to explore my creativity in relative safety. After all, if I was someone else I wasn't really me, was I? ;)

MrsC: For years I've snuck English & History into Ditz's art but she's on to me & boy does it make her wild these days! :(

MrsD:Oh yes, I'd much rather do the arts than anything else! Unfortunately our education department does not agree with me on this! lol I do very little theory as Ditz is a doer & not into just learning about the arts but the skills I see her really grasping in these areas are *life skills* that can be applied across the board. It is for life skills that I consider the arts so important. The ability to appear poised when nervous, to stand beautifully, to act graciously, move confidently, speak clearly & articulately, are key to simple things like making an impact & nailing a job interview.

seekingmyLord said...

In this respect, we have nearly the same child, but mine is younger. She has a desire for more instruments, ballet, singing, acting, and horseback riding lessons. Not all things have to happen for her at this age, but it would be nice to get to do them all. I must trust that the Lord will provide in His time.

Sandra said...

I must say, I have never seen it better put. You should speak before every school board.

Britwife said...

Sandra beat me to saying that you need to stand in front of our school board. They just cut all the (choral) music programs, the German classes, marching band.
Funny - the football team never has to take cuts though.

seekingmyLord said...

Follow the money. Football makes money for the schools. Arts usually are an expense without monetary return.

Ganeida said...

Football/sport is an *expense without monetary return* out here too. If anything the arts bring in more money from concerts & things but most people see them as a complete waste of a student's time. I just think the schools don't do anything well ~ a little of this a little of that & call it a well rounded education. Do less but do it well & most of the problems would be solved ~ especially in the early grades.